At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we find that our clients are often nervous about one critical point in the divorce process: serving their spouse with divorce papers. Of course, each situation is different. But “getting served” has long been emphasized in the media and popular culture. For many, it represents the moment in the divorce proceedings when the relationship changes forever.
Legally, serving your spouse with divorce papers is called “notification”. In a divorce, the spouse filing for divorce is required by the law to take proper steps to notify their spouse of the divorce case. If you fail to notify them, it can delay your case. In some cases, it may even lead to dismissal of your divorce.
How to Notify Your Spouse of the Divorce
Texas courts recognize several different ways to notify your spouse about the divorce. You and your lawyer will choose the one that works best for you, depending on your situation. Your options include:
- A court-approved private process server, sheriff or constable may serve the divorce papers after you pay the required legal fees.
- Your spouse may receive notice through the mail by a certified mailing from the district clerk’s office.
- If you and your spouse agree, after you have filed the petition for divorce, your spouse may sign a document called a “Waiver of Citation.” This tells the courts that your spouse is accepting the service of the lawsuit.
- If you do not know where your spouse is, you may be able to give notice by publication. The notice of the divorce proceeding is published in a court-approved newspaper or another approved publication. Usually, the notice must appear in the paper for a certain amount of time before the court considers the notice served.
After Notice Is Given to Your Spouse
Once you officially notify your spouse, they must respond to the divorce petition. The court sets a deadline for doing this. If the deadline isn’t met and your spouse does not respond, you may be able to obtain a divorce by default.
In a divorce by default, property division must be just and right, and child custody must be in the child’s “best interests.” However, the final decision may be made with considerably less disagreement and expense.
Questions About Serving Your Spouse? Talk With Our Lawyers.
At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we work to protect your interests during a divorce. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852. We can answer your questions about the divorce process, including serving your spouse with divorce papers.